Why I don’t do much for video…

While doing supplement reviews, I was often asked if I’d consider doing a video review. My most often used response was, “I don’t typically do those, but I’d consider it.”.

The excitement over video reviews has died down a bit until recently, when a bunch of supplement companies began contacting me to specifically do video reviews on their products. Rather than put my usual response, I began to say no, and sent them these links:

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timeinc.net/fortune/2018/10/17/advertisers-facebook-video-metrics

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/11/technology/youtube-fake-view-sellers.html

That’s right, videos often have misrepresented view counts, so why would I waste time editing and re-editing a video, ensuring the lighting is good, getting “action shots”, etc., when views aren’t real and I can easily type out everything and take a few quality pictures instead?

I know online marketers do videos on Instagram and FB and some don’t require product shots, “action shots”, or well-lit/professional quality video, but it seems like even if I did a video, the company’s expectations are tainted and it seems dishonest for me to do that to anyone.

Instagram has a similar problem and some users with thousands of followers have up to 80% less when spam accounts are removed. Spam accounts are typically seen as the accounts with no pictures, an odd name, and no posts, but they can also look like real people too. I actively monitor my Instagram and deny or report and remove spam accounts daily or weekly.

You may be thinking that page views on a blog can be inflated too, which is correct, but it’s harder to do than with video. In fact, WordPress offers unique view stats, which is a much more accurate statistic than video views. Blogger has a similar feature.

I want to be honest in representing myself with any vendor, so for me and for now, video stuff is best left off of the table, until the tech companies can fix it.

Sean

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Who do you trust?

Tb wrote

Hello,

I just found your site and I am still working back to the beginning, but there seems to be a lot of good information here. Have you always been into fitness or how did you get into it? I am always surprised that there are so many places to look for fitness information, but I am wondering how I should go about determining which are the best sources to believe in. Any tips?

Tb

Tb

You’re right, there are tons of places to find fitness information. My motto is, if someone is calling themselves a fitness professional after just getting started, or posting workout videos with bad form, they are not someone you should be getting your information from.

I see so many people on Instagram flapping their arms trying to do shoulder exercises, people rocking at the hip when doing dumbbell arm work, or doing back exercises and saying they are working their chest muscles, and frankly, it’s pretty pathetic. There is nothing wrong with getting fit and posting videos or pics of progress, but don’t try to teach other people something that is incorrect.

If you’re looking for people to follow on Instagram, I’d recommend any IFBB or NPC pro, a hardcore supplement site that posts tips and videos (no Advocare or GNC stuff), or someone that is certified and has several years or more of experience. Don’t follow any supplement company that markets supplements for video game playing either…they’re a joke.

I follow some pretty reputable fitness people on my Instagram. I’d trust their tips/advice/videos over most. I am no professional myself, but I’ve been doing this for nine years. I’ve had my ups and downs along the way, but I try to always recommend good practices and no crash dieting.

Sean

It’s about the journey not the destination

RB wrote

Hey man, I have been watching your post on Instagram and you are getting into good shape. I have started on my own journey and I’m curious how much weight you have lost recently as in maybe the last year or two. I am looking for a loss of 40-60 pounds in the next year and could use some pointers too.

Keep up the good work!

RB

RB

Thanks for the positive feedback! Over the last year, I have dropped over to pant sizes and lost about 20 pounds. I am not sure how far you are in educating yourself on your journey but you may be wondering how I dropped over two pant sizes and only lost 20 pounds… I have added quite a bit of muscle in the year which offsets the amount of weight lost.

It’s crazy to think that one year ago this month I decided to really dive deep into reshaping myself. It started as a way to be a little more “beach ready” for a trip I took to Jamaica (I was only “half beach ready” by the time the trip came), but it turned into an exciting challenge to see where I can take myself physically. I bicep curl about 25 pounds more than I did in January, I have almost tripled the weight of my tricep exercises, I have regained my grip strength, and have added an increasing amount of muscle definition. I can also do pull-ups all damn day.

This isn’t about weight loss for me, and I would encourage anyone looking to improve their physical appearance to not stay focused on losing the weight, but shift focus on reshaping what’s there. Anyone can always scale back their calories, shift to really restrictive eating, or improve their physical activity with moderate cardio and lose weight, but if you’re not careful you will lose muscle mass along the way which will only result in future fat gain.

Here are my tips, all in one bunch:

Figure out your macronutrients, but eat what works for you, and hit the gym hard. In the end, modifying your eating habits will pay off. Eating a bunch of junk never helps.

Weight loss alone doesn’t keep weight off, so building muscle will increase metabolism as the body uses more energy to maintain muscle than fat. Build muscle.

Unless you have some sort of physical condition that is preventing you from lifting heavy weights, get in the gym and go wild.

If you’re afraid to go and exercise in public because you don’t know how to use the equipment or do weight based exercises, there are plenty of apps you can use, and websites you can visit, that will teach you all of the exercises you need to do to shape yourself the way you’d like to.

If you start getting bored with what you’re doing, challenge yourself to change up your routine and have some fun with it.

Finally, find a partner. Get someone that encourages you or pushes you to do one more set, or one more rep. It will take you far on those days that you feel you just can’t do it (even if it pisses you off in the moment).

I am far from where I know I can be, and I know I have plenty of work ahead of me, but that’s the FUN part! I am determined to always be a work in progress. A body is like a house…it’s an investment. If you take care of your investment, it will take care of you.

Sean

Gaaaainz

Do wrote:

I recently found your website after starting a healthier lifestyle, you have a ton of information here! I spent three days binging on your posts and I have really learned quite a bit. One question I have though is what are gains? I see this term used on fitness websites, yoga Instagram pages, and various places on the Internet. I am just confused on what it means.

Do

Do

“Gains (or “Gainz”) is a term used to refer to muscle building, but it is often used incorrectly to refer to progress. Make no mistake, gains is all about gaining muscle.

How do you achieve gains? It’s a combination of macronutrition and the right exercises to build muscle. You can bulk (carb heavy with high caloric intake), cut (protein heavy with low or moderate caloric intake), or just maintain (balanced eating with moderate caloric intake). Bulking adds size the fastest, cutting is dropping bulk (this is where people show more muscle striation and use terms like “shredded”), and maintaining is eating enough protein to maintain muscle mass with the current exercise plan (not really seeing gains unless you’re doing muscle building exercises..you’re typically just reshaping what’s there).

You won’t achieve gainz/gains through yoga or weightless cardio, or without a solid amount of protein, meaning if you think you will be able to add muscle by eating three meals a day with 10-20g of protein per meal, you’re wrong. 0.8 to 1g of protein per lb of body weight is the baseline. Yes, if you weigh 160lbs, you should be consuming 128-160g of protein each day. If you’re not, you can be toning up your body without really adding muscle mass, which is where fat burning really takes off.

Obviously, there are calorie burning exercise plans and supplements out there that cause people to lose weight quickly, and some muscle becomes visible, but if you’re not adding in protein and weight training, you’re cutting yourself short in the long run. Your salad won’t cut it if you’re looking to gain muscle, nor will a calorie deficient diet with one protein shake after each workout. If you want to make some real gains/gainz, you will need to be more strategic about how, what, and when you eat.

Do some research on macronutrition and figure out what works for your goals. Add in some heavy weights, and go to town. You won’t get bulky unless you’re following a plan that is designed to add bulk. All in all, heavy weight and the right eating plan can be beneficial for everyone.

Sean

Living room workouts

Lynn wrote:

I’ve been reading your posts lately, and I am wondering why you’re so hard on those at home workout people. Do you not find them valid forms of exercise?

Lynn

Lynn,

First, any workout is better than no workout. Second, I am not against at home workouts as a form of staying healthy or losing weight…BUT, I like to poke fun at the ridiculous poses many of the at home fitness patrons make (looks like they all have a back problem and are super happy about it), and I believe their supplements are crap.

At home workouts are effective at raising heart rate and shredding fat. It has a welcoming community and many people have made successful careers out of coaching others. It’s a great way to get fit. It is not the same as lifting where you’re building muscle and dramatically increasing bone density though.

The long term benefit if you did both for ten years and gave up forever (assuming you maintained a high protein diet) is, lifting (and two to five hand weights in your home is NOT lifting) will take longer to regain body fat and decrease bone density than cardio based workouts. Lifting heavy doesn’t make people big and bulky, unless they’re doing exercises that promote muscle growth while at the same time consuming food/supplements that promote muscle growth. I have had some ups and downs, but have really poured myself into heavier lifting in the last year and have seen some amazing results. As an anti-fan of normal machine cardio, lifting heavy can also provide good cardio, if done correctly with minimal rest.

So again, I am not against home workouts. I am just more of a fan of the heavy weight. I know I couldn’t hang in a 45 minute moderate level class with some of those companies, just as they know they couldn’t hang with 200lb tricep pushdowns and some of the stuff I do. Do whatever feels best as long as you’re doing something.

Sean

Epicatechin

I’ve been trying Epicatechin for a short time now, but I’ve been seeing some results that I thought I’d share.

First, you may be wondering, “Epi whaaat?”

Epicatechin is basically a flavinol (plant chemical) found in many foods including green tea and dark chocolate that has a ton of health benefits including improving brain and heart health, lowering cholesterol, improving insulin sensitivity, and enhancing lean muscle growth as well as muscle strength.

I won’t go too deep into the details of how it works, but the general findings shows it limits myostatin in the body, which in turn promotes nitric oxide elevation and muscle growth.

Studies show long term use benefits include leaner physique, increased fat burning, increased protein absorption, lowered risk of stroke and heart attack, and even lowered cancer risk.

The other upside? There are no known reported side effects, and it’s safe for both men and women.

I am seeing some results, notably a decrease in body fat and some decent improvement at the gym, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to improve their physique or athletic performance.

Here are a few to try:

Epistrol from Killer Labz

Massacre from Olympus Labs

EpiCat from Blackstone Labs

Good luck!

Sean

Tar isn’t the problem

Fb wrote

You seem relatively knowledgeable in health matters so I thought I would ask this question. I have recently given up smoking and started vaping. The guys at the Vape shop say vaping is healthier and not harmful but I am seeing some news articles on Facebook talking about how it is harmful and is an epidemic. I thought the tar was the bad part of smoking so is there something else I should be worried about?

Fb

Fb,

First off, let me say that inhaling anything other than the air we breathe is harmful …and sometimes even the air we breathe can be harmful.

While there is a lack of long-term data, studies do prove vaping is harmful because the “vape user” and anyone in the vicinity are inhaling a series of chemicals including – at minimum- concentrated nicotine which is usually consumed at a nearly toxic level, a chemical flavoring base, and the suspension liquid that turns into the vapor (this can turn into formaldehyde when heated into vapor…it is NOT just water). None of this is good for the lungs. While cigarettes, marijuana, and hookahs do contain a host of other chemicals and/or plant tar, vaping is still harmful – and if you are trying to be healthy, it’s best to avoid smoking in general. Nicotine in general can also affect brain growth in fetuses and small children as well, so it isn’t just you that should be considered.

I know I mentioned marijuana there, and there are people that need to take it for medicinal use, but I’d recommend looking into non-smokable options if that is the case.

I hope that helps,

Sean